Finding the balance

J

joeeagles

Guest
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Total posts
1,114
The one thing that every holdem player, particularly in his early playing days, will hear is that he/she plays way too many hands. It is true that many players make this mistake and end up fattening their opponents bankroll. Recently, and I mean the past 3 days, I've been questioning my game and started wondering if maybe I fold too often before the flop. The reason for this is that the last 3 tourneys that I've played I've found myself always behind, with a below average stack, the last time being last night. The 3 times in question were the same type of tourney, the very popular 180 seat $4.00+ 40c on PS, which happens to be my favourite tourney since I've done very well in it having made the money and final table several times, although best placement ever was 2nd (yeah I know, I need to work on my shorthanded game, thx for telling me). Now lets get this straight: I am not, by any means, an expert. Only thing is now I'm wondering if I'm awful. Being behind at the break, yet again for 3rd night in a row, you start to ask yourself questions, like "what am I doing wrong?", "how come this is happening?", "am I a moron?" ,and stuff like that. So, as I go through this analysis during the 1st break last night, while I still think that me being a moron is probably the correct answer, I also noticed that, particularly in the last 2 sessions, I wasn't seeing many flops. I check my stat box and it says that I saw the flop 17% of times. Now, I'm thinking, that is way too low. Dam, so that's why. Have I been contaged by "folditis"? In the same time, it did appear to me that I was getting way too many junk hands, and I did recall that happening the night before too (lets forget about Wednesday night, I got shortstacked for my fault, so lets limit this now to Thursday and Friday night sessions). Thanks to instant hand history, I'm able to look at every hand that I was dealt, so, for the sake of it, I wrote them down. When the tourney restarted, I kept writing down every single starting hand until I got knocked out. While I was doing this, my frustation level was increasingly getting higher since, again, I was getting a very high percentage of junk hands. Needless to say, although I was still alive thanks mostly to the occasional steal, I was consistently behind average. Also to blame for that was the fact that I never was in position to take down a big pot. That is probably what hurt the most. The one chance I had for that I blew it, and I'll describe this hand to you. We're down to just less than 40 players, average stack is a little less than 7k, I have 3.2 k. Blinds are 100/200, ante 25. I'm on the button and I get dealt QhJh, a hand that, given my position, is without any doubt a great hand to raise with and attempt to steal the blinds. Also, the player on my left, the SB, was very aggressive so I was happy to raise his ass with somewhat of a legit hand and positional advantage. However, before a get a chance to do that, a player in EP raises to 600, and gets called by a player in MP. The rest fold to me. So I stop and think, what now? An EP raiser is always dangerous, although, at times, Ive seen people raise with all kinds of hands, even UTG. But since this raiser was called and there were 2 people in the pot already, a reraise here didn't seem right to do, especially considering that the caller didn't have a big stack and being faced by a reraise he might have pushed all-in and QhJh didn't seem like a good spot for me to eventually call him. The original raiser had been moved from another table so I had no read at all on him yet and he was sitting on average stack. OK, raising is not an option. It's either call or fold. I should have told myself that folding wasn't an option either, because, like a perfect fish, that's what I did. The SB called, BB folds, pot is 2.2k, it's 3 to the flop and it's a beauty: Th9d8h. Yes, I would've had the nuts and 4 to a flush. Want to know what happened? All 3 checked the flop, which I would have done too from the button, in the hopes of trapping someone. The turn is As, and now the SB bets 2k!!!!! The other 2 fold. I've just lost at least 4.2k. Could I be more stupid than that? What a bonehead. I don't deserve to play this game. At this point, since I'm not immune to it, I'm on tilt. The very next hand I'm dealt Js9s. Keep in mind, I'm next to the button now. This time the action folds to me, so I raise, which is the right thing to do with that hand, given my position and the fact that the pot is uncontested. The button (yes, him again) calls my raise. The flop comes T83 rainbow, giving me an open ended straight draw. Pot is 1.7k, and having somewhat connected with this flop I bet 800, hoping he folds. I'm wrong, he calls. Here is where I tilt. Turn is a 5 and I go all-in (I'm an idiot) he calls right away and turns over 88 for a set of 8s. River is a blank and I'm knocked out in 37th place. In the end, I totally deserved it. Now, I have to reconnect to what I was talking about in the beginning which is real reason that I'm annoying you with this post , that is, if I'm folding too much before the flop. As I said, I bothered to write down my starting hands in this tournament, which I was able to do thanks to instant hand history. It turns out that I was dealt a total of 114 hands and I saw the flop 21 times, an unacceptable 18%. To be honest, this doesn't account of those times when I was able to steal the blinds without a flop. That happened probably 6 or 7 times. So lets make it 28 times that I either raised or called. So now it's 24%, still not enough when you consider that at least a few times you'll see the flop just because you're the BB and nobody raises, making that 24% look more like a 21% or perhaps worse. If you recall, I also mentioned that I was getting way too many junk hands. It seemed as if I always had a duece or a 3, or something like K4o or J5o and junk similar to that. I look at the sheet with starting hands and it hits me. I never, ever once had a hand like AK, AQ, or AJ, suited or not. I had AT twice. Never, also, did I get AA,KK,QQ or JJ. For that account, the best pocket pair I had all night was 44. This is not BS. Call me an idiot and I'll probably agree with you but I'm not a bullshitter. As I keep going through these hands I realize that I should have also kept track of my position by writing down when I was SB and BB, just how it is on the instant hand history. Too late. I went to bed after that but I kept couldn't get my mind off it, because now I'm thinking: is it me or I just got dealt a rotten streak of cards? When I wake up this morning, it's Saturday (no work, yes!!!!!!!!) and being that I still have this on my mind I finally do something about it that makes sense. I get " Holdem poker for advanced players" off my shelf , so that I can compare the hands that I was dealt with Sklansky's hand ratings to finally get an answer. Those who are familiar with this book know what I'm talking about, those who are not should go buy it right away, and that's about the best poker tip you'll ever get from me. Again, I made the capitol mistake to not write my position on each hand which kind of messes up this whole analysis, but still, I figure, I can get some kind of answer to this situation since I'm starting to lose confidence in my game. Out of the 114 hands I was dealt, exactly 30 of them were included in Sklansky's 8 groups. That's close to how many I was involved in. But here comes the bigger stat. These 30 playable hands are obviously not of the same value, so I broke down the numbers even more, and this is what i found: I was dealt 0 (zero!!!!!!!) hands ranked in groups 1 and 2. How is this possible? I check again. WTF. I'm right, 0 hands out of 114 belonged to groups 1 or 2. Here is the rest: 4 were group 3 hands, 3 were group 4 hands, 6 belonged to group 5 hands, 1 was a group 6 hand, 7 were group 7 hands and 9 were group 8 hands. I came to the conclusion that what I did in this tournament probably wasn't that bad, particularly considering that if I hadn't screwed up that hand I could have gone very deep, who knows. I also realize that my game isn't strong enough to overcome this type of adversity, so any time this happens, more often than not, I will fail to reach the final table or even the money. But it also raises another question: does patience really pay? These numbers pretty much prove that I could sit there all night and not get decent hands. So maybe, in tournament play, since the dynamics are so different than ring games, it might not be so wrong to call, or even raise, with hands like J4 or K2, every now and then, particularly if cards are not coming and you're falling behind. The question then becomes: should I really loosen up or keep waiting? I'd like to know your opinion on this, how you would deal with it and if this has ever happened to you, because I really have no answer. Sorry for making it this long, next time I'll be much more brief.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Total posts
13,642
Wow...if you want anyone to read that and give opinions, you're gonna have to separate paragraphs man. That truly hurts my eyes.
 
reglardave

reglardave

Legend
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Total posts
2,264
What Chuck said.

Dude, take a deep breath. I could play a 180 SNG in the time it'd take me to type alla dat, let alone read and absorb it.
 
A

ArmadilloTrim

Guest
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Total posts
35
Well, I've been in that position in the past, in fact as recently as this morning! The fact of the matter is, table dynamics are a big part of it too. Obviously you know to play a super loose table a bit tighter, and vice versa. So lets say your in your favorite tourney, in halfway, and your below average. Bad run of cards, your only little bits of profit were from one or two mediocre hands, and a few steals. You can see that the big blinds are going to be a problem for you if you dont start grabing a few pots, but at the same time your pretty sure that your cards are never going to improve. To make it worse, people are playing what you typicaly deem to be bad hands, ace rag off, king rag off, etc, yet they are raking with em! Well, the way I see it, its so mental now, thats the biggest thing you have to worry about. So many times i remember being in that situation and getting impatient with everyone playing shit and hitting, that I try it, and of course then the crazies wind up with big pockets when I do, and I dont give em credit, and thats my tourney. Some players have to play solid, some can play very loose. Its the way it is.
There are two things to do, I think, when things are running bad. Neither is very appetizing, but thats how it is when its just not your day. You can either risk getting blinded out, wait for the hand, and then hope you get paid off if you do get it. Or, you can become very liberal, and take a chance, playing any A or K, connectors, etc, pretty much regardless of position, and hope to make a quick climb back up. Either way, your only sole objective at this point is to try to get back into contention, because by now, obviously the normal approach hasnt been working, so its time to take a shot, or to really test your nerves as you watch your stack shrink while waiting for the big bomb. I cant say which is best, it depends on the dynamics, as always. Hopefully theres something in there to help you, its a tough topic!

T
 
Stick66

Stick66

Legend
Joined
Nov 10, 2005
Total posts
6,374
Every so often,
do this twice:
V V V V V V

training_enter_key.JPG


(Joe, was your post copied and pasted here?)
 
pokerrqueenn

pokerrqueenn

Legend
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Total posts
4,288
i can't even read it i tried like 5 times but then my brain starts hurting.
 

Attachments

  • 40966qocze9braw.GIF
    40966qocze9braw.GIF
    30.7 KB · Views: 81
J

joeeagles

Guest
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Total posts
1,114
Sorry guys, I know its too long but I was just trying my best to explain it clearly. I appreciate your opinion Armadillo, it's probably the only way out even if it can get ugly.
 
Ronaldadio

Ronaldadio

Legend
Joined
May 28, 2006
Total posts
1,804
I got the jist after the first few lines

If, like me, u r relativly new to poker, play less hands. I think Doyle Brunson suggests that newish players should not panic if u see only about 10% of the flops.

I sometimes feel like you, but the problem I have is that because I`m less experienced I know I need to be ahead most of the time when I decide I want to see a flop. I`ve played on stars and have only seen 9% of the flops in a 180+ tourny.

I know pro`s and other good players see a lot more flops (well some of them do) but those same pros will lose a lot of chips sometimes - remember, watching TV, in the main u see the highlights.

My target is to keep in about middle position in MTT up until we get to the money. Then open up a bit. Unless the money difference is massive, I never want to get to less than 10 bb, so I push when I get to this level
 
thwizzofoz

thwizzofoz

Rock Star
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Total posts
346
It isn't that it is too long. But, books have chapters and chapters have paragraphs. It allows the brain to focus on the point in the individual sentences. Although it can be done, that huge paragraph is difficult to keep the point on track.

It reminds me of the old bus driver joke. Where you are told "You are the bus driver", then given lots of information, and asked later, what the bus driver's name is. In all the details it is forgotten that YOU are the bus driver.

Hint: First paragraph, identify the main problem and ask your question (if it is a question). Second paragraph and others, give supporting/defining details. Last paragraph quick summation.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Total posts
13,642
It isn't that it is too long. But, books have chapters and chapters have paragraphs. It allows the brain to focus on the point in the individual sentences. Although it can be done, that huge paragraph is difficult to keep the point on track.

It reminds me of the old bus driver joke. Where you are told "You are the bus driver", then given lots of information, and asked later, what the bus driver's name is. In all the details it is forgotten that YOU are the bus driver.

Hint: First paragraph, identify the main problem and ask your question (if it is a question). Second paragraph and others, give supporting/defining details. Last paragraph quick summation.

This!
 
J

joeeagles

Guest
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Total posts
1,114
Ok, got it. I thought you guys liked to talk about poker. Guess I was wrong. Thx for the lecture on how to write.
 
blankoblanco

blankoblanco

plays poker on hard mode
Joined
May 16, 2006
Total posts
6,129
Holy crap, that might be the biggest unseparated block of text I've ever seen
 
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
Joined
Mar 26, 2005
Total posts
13,414
While I'm not even going to try reading that mess, on the positive side I did notice lots of capital letters and punctuation marks. So really the only deficiency seems to be the enter key.

Ok, got it. I thought you guys liked to talk about poker. Guess I was wrong. Thx for the lecture on how to write.
Oh, don't misunderstand. We love to talk about poker. The point is that, poker or not, it is unrealistic to believe that anyone is going to sit there sifting through several dozens of lines of edge to edge text. Break it up a little and you'll get more poker comment and less criticism (unless of course unless the criticism is about poker). :)
 
Stick66

Stick66

Legend
Joined
Nov 10, 2005
Total posts
6,374
Oh, don't misunderstand. We love to talk about poker. The point is that, poker or not, it is unrealistic to believe that anyone is going to sit there sifting through several dozens of lines of edge to edge text. Break it up a little and you'll get more poker comment and less criticism (unless of course unless the criticism is about poker). :)
Hey JD. Are you able to insert the breaks for him? There's probably a few folks who would like to try reading it in a better format.
 
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
Joined
Mar 26, 2005
Total posts
13,414
Hey JD. Are you able to insert the breaks for him? There's probably a few folks who would like to try reading it in a better format.
Yeah, I could. But that would require me actually reading and deciphering that blob. :( Sigh. Guess I can take a shot at it as the last thing before I go to bed. For sake of the whole thread, I'm going to leave his first post in tact (hopefully as a learning experience for others).
 
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
Joined
Mar 26, 2005
Total posts
13,414
The one thing that every holdem player, particularly in his early playing days, will hear is that he/she plays way too many hands. It is true that many players make this mistake and end up fattening their opponents bankroll. Recently, and I mean the past 3 days, I've been questioning my game and started wondering if maybe I fold too often before the flop. The reason for this is that the last 3 tourneys that I've played I've found myself always behind, with a below average stack, the last time being last night. The 3 times in question were the same type of tourney, the very popular 180 seat $4.00+ 40c on PS, which happens to be my favourite tourney since I've done very well in it having made the money and final table several times, although best placement ever was 2nd (yeah I know, I need to work on my shorthanded game, thx for telling me).

Now lets get this straight: I am not, by any means, an expert. Only thing is now I'm wondering if I'm awful. Being behind at the break, yet again for 3rd night in a row, you start to ask yourself questions, like "what am I doing wrong?", "how come this is happening?", "am I a moron?" ,and stuff like that. So, as I go through this analysis during the 1st break last night, while I still think that me being a moron is probably the correct answer, I also noticed that, particularly in the last 2 sessions, I wasn't seeing many flops. I check my stat box and it says that I saw the flop 17% of times. Now, I'm thinking, that is way too low. Dam, so that's why. Have I been contaged by "folditis"? In the same time, it did appear to me that I was getting way too many junk hands, and I did recall that happening the night before too (lets forget about Wednesday night, I got shortstacked for my fault, so lets limit this now to Thursday and Friday night sessions).

Thanks to instant hand history, I'm able to look at every hand that I was dealt, so, for the sake of it, I wrote them down. When the tourney restarted, I kept writing down every single starting hand until I got knocked out. While I was doing this, my frustation level was increasingly getting higher since, again, I was getting a very high percentage of junk hands. Needless to say, although I was still alive thanks mostly to the occasional steal, I was consistently behind average. Also to blame for that was the fact that I never was in position to take down a big pot. That is probably what hurt the most.

The one chance I had for that I blew it, and I'll describe this hand to you. We're down to just less than 40 players, average stack is a little less than 7k, I have 3.2 k. Blinds are 100/200, ante 25. I'm on the button and I get dealt QhJh, a hand that, given my position, is without any doubt a great hand to raise with and attempt to steal the blinds. Also, the player on my left, the SB, was very aggressive so I was happy to raise his ass with somewhat of a legit hand and positional advantage. However, before a get a chance to do that, a player in EP raises to 600, and gets called by a player in MP. The rest fold to me. So I stop and think, what now? An EP raiser is always dangerous, although, at times, Ive seen people raise with all kinds of hands, even UTG. But since this raiser was called and there were 2 people in the pot already, a reraise here didn't seem right to do, especially considering that the caller didn't have a big stack and being faced by a reraise he might have pushed all-in and QhJh didn't seem like a good spot for me to eventually call him. The original raiser had been moved from another table so I had no read at all on him yet and he was sitting on average stack. OK, raising is not an option. It's either call or fold. I should have told myself that folding wasn't an option either, because, like a perfect fish, that's what I did. The SB called, BB folds, pot is 2.2k, it's 3 to the flop and it's a beauty: Th9d8h. Yes, I would've had the nuts and 4 to a flush. Want to know what happened? All 3 checked the flop, which I would have done too from the button, in the hopes of trapping someone. The turn is As, and now the SB bets 2k!!!!! The other 2 fold. I've just lost at least 4.2k. Could I be more stupid than that? What a bonehead. I don't deserve to play this game.

At this point, since I'm not immune to it, I'm on tilt. The very next hand I'm dealt Js9s. Keep in mind, I'm next to the button now. This time the action folds to me, so I raise, which is the right thing to do with that hand, given my position and the fact that the pot is uncontested. The button (yes, him again) calls my raise. The flop comes T83 rainbow, giving me an open ended straight draw. Pot is 1.7k, and having somewhat connected with this flop I bet 800, hoping he folds. I'm wrong, he calls. Here is where I tilt. Turn is a 5 and I go all-in (I'm an idiot) he calls right away and turns over 88 for a set of 8s. River is a blank and I'm knocked out in 37th place. In the end, I totally deserved it.

Now, I have to reconnect to what I was talking about in the beginning which is real reason that I'm annoying you with this post , that is, if I'm folding too much before the flop. As I said, I bothered to write down my starting hands in this tournament, which I was able to do thanks to instant hand history. It turns out that I was dealt a total of 114 hands and I saw the flop 21 times, an unacceptable 18%. To be honest, this doesn't account of those times when I was able to steal the blinds without a flop. That happened probably 6 or 7 times. So lets make it 28 times that I either raised or called. So now it's 24%, still not enough when you consider that at least a few times you'll see the flop just because you're the BB and nobody raises, making that 24% look more like a 21% or perhaps worse.

If you recall, I also mentioned that I was getting way too many junk hands. It seemed as if I always had a duece or a 3, or something like K4o or J5o and junk similar to that. I look at the sheet with starting hands and it hits me. I never, ever once had a hand like AK, AQ, or AJ, suited or not. I had AT twice. Never, also, did I get AA,KK,QQ or JJ. For that account, the best pocket pair I had all night was 44. This is not BS. Call me an idiot and I'll probably agree with you but I'm not a bullshitter.

As I keep going through these hands I realize that I should have also kept track of my position by writing down when I was SB and BB, just how it is on the instant hand history. Too late. I went to bed after that but I kept couldn't get my mind off it, because now I'm thinking: is it me or I just got dealt a rotten streak of cards? When I wake up this morning, it's Saturday (no work, yes!!!!!!!!) and being that I still have this on my mind I finally do something about it that makes sense. I get " Holdem poker for advanced players" off my shelf , so that I can compare the hands that I was dealt with Sklansky's hand ratings to finally get an answer.

Those who are familiar with this book know what I'm talking about, those who are not should go buy it right away, and that's about the best poker tip you'll ever get from me. Again, I made the capitol mistake to not write my position on each hand which kind of messes up this whole analysis, but still, I figure, I can get some kind of answer to this situation since I'm starting to lose confidence in my game. Out of the 114 hands I was dealt, exactly 30 of them were included in Sklansky's 8 groups. That's close to how many I was involved in. But here comes the bigger stat. These 30 playable hands are obviously not of the same value, so I broke down the numbers even more, and this is what i found: I was dealt 0 (zero!!!!!!!) hands ranked in groups 1 and 2. How is this possible? I check again. WTF. I'm right, 0 hands out of 114 belonged to groups 1 or 2. Here is the rest: 4 were group 3 hands, 3 were group 4 hands, 6 belonged to group 5 hands, 1 was a group 6 hand, 7 were group 7 hands and 9 were group 8 hands.

I came to the conclusion that what I did in this tournament probably wasn't that bad, particularly considering that if I hadn't screwed up that hand I could have gone very deep, who knows. I also realize that my game isn't strong enough to overcome this type of adversity, so any time this happens, more often than not, I will fail to reach the final table or even the money. But it also raises another question: does patience really pay? These numbers pretty much prove that I could sit there all night and not get decent hands. So maybe, in tournament play, since the dynamics are so different than ring games, it might not be so wrong to call, or even raise, with hands like J4 or K2, every now and then, particularly if cards are not coming and you're falling behind. The question then becomes: should I really loosen up or keep waiting?

I'd like to know your opinion on this, how you would deal with it and if this has ever happened to you, because I really have no answer. Sorry for making it this long, next time I'll be much more brief.

I took a shot at making it more readable. I'm tired, but hopefully it makes sense where I broke it up.
 
dj11

dj11

Legend
Joined
Oct 9, 2006
Total posts
23,189
Awards
9
Your rewrite was good, made it a bit easier to read.

From what I read you did well with poor cards. Streaks happens. When bad streaks happens I take solice in the fact that a good streak will happen.

You may be able to get position if you save your hand histories to your disk.

If you had bupcus, and folded a lot, well, that shows good decisions.
Dwelling on hands that might have been is futile. I am not sure of the shuffling scheme at PS, but many sites use a 'card on demand' scheme which means that had you stayed in, the flop would have been different.
 
Stick66

Stick66

Legend
Joined
Nov 10, 2005
Total posts
6,374
I am not sure of the shuffling scheme at PS, but many sites use a 'card on demand' scheme which means that had you stayed in, the flop would have been different.
Really? Explain please.
 
D

Dashir

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Total posts
61
I am not sure of the shuffling scheme at PS, but many sites use a 'card on demand' scheme which means that had you stayed in, the flop would have been different.
You have anything to back up that claim? Because the only fair deal would not only be dertimined before any cards are dealt, but the number of seats wouldn't be part of the equation, certainly not the cards of the players left in the hand... just random numbers determine the entire deck before the deal. If any site did anything else it would be totally bogus.
 
Suited Frenzy

Suited Frenzy

CardsChat Elite
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Total posts
3,590
It's Simply A Game

The answer is simply.................IT'S POKER MAN. You can't do anything about bad beats or when the cards come or where they fall. Don't get so frustrated man, it's only poker. Now if this is your life & your dinner depends on it then maybe i would consider a different approach to life. It's simple, in a game that you have no control on how the cards come out then why get so upset.....yes some people play dumb sometimes but keep your emotions for something real. Don't use emotion like that on a game. Poker is only a game.
 
Ronaldadio

Ronaldadio

Legend
Joined
May 28, 2006
Total posts
1,804
You do not have control on how the cards come out, but u can make a calculated gamble.

Look at it this way. If someone said "I`ll give you $5000 for jumping off a 5 foot wall, or $10,000 for jumping off a 20 foot wall u have a decision to make.

Its all a question of risk. I would take the $5,000, jump off the 5 foot wall, know almost for certain I won`t risk injury. However, if u needed the money bad, u would look at the possible out comes of jumping off the 20 foot wall. If you bend your knees at the exact time u might only hurt yourself from the impact. You could break a leg, etc. You might, however, think it is a risk worth taking because you know that you probably won`t die and if u don`t jump (take the risk/ shortstack) u r done anyway.

The `bad beat` here is you jump off the 5 foot wall, stumble, land on your head and u r a gonna!!! (your Ace high flush on the flop beaten by runner runner 6hearts 9 hearts giving the other guy a straight flush)

You dish out a bad beat because off the 20 foot wall u catch it just right and walk away with $20,000 (your runner runner)
 
Top